Allocations: A whiff of reform

And now for a housing-related post …

Anybody reading the Sunday Times will have seen Grant Schapps talking about an allocations Consultation Paper that CLG are preparing.  Apparently, this will propose giving local authorities the power to set up their own allocations policies with their own priorities, allowing local people priority over those nasty foreigners (other than those nice EEA nationals to whom we owe Treaty obligations, although that was on the inside page of the Sunday Times).  It was a joyous reminder of Royston Vasey speak – this is a local town for local people; “Welcome to Royston Vasey – You’ll never leave” (for lovers of the League of Gentlemen).  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for law reform on allocations but anybody who has read the Cullingworth Committee report from 1969 will know that localism may not be all that it is cracked up to be and, anyway, don’t we have other equalities obligations etc now.  By way of preface to that CP, the National Housing Federation have issued their own discussion document (hat tip to AM for this link) which broadly proposes greater flexibility in the allocations process.

My problem with all this chat and very clever people seeking to rethink allocations is that I thought it was unnecessary as the 2009 Code of Guidance and impact statement (on which we have commented previously) made clear.  We already have localism, mobility, flexibility, a form of the big society consultation about allocations, etc etc.  I readily admit to being not that clever so can somebody tell me what’s going on – it really is perplexing.

Posted in Allocation.

3 Comments

  1. He also alluded to keeping the reasonable preference groups in some form or another..so exactly what will be new is hard to tell.

    Have to say I think they are scrabbling around for things to put in their Localism Bill as its looking a bit thin on content for a ‘flagship’ piece of legislation.

  2. What a load of spin. Local housing authorities already have discretionary powers, provided by s.167(2A)(c) HA 1996 to take into account local connection when determining priorities. The government is plainly diverting attention away from the real issue which is the acute lack of affordable housing, thanks to the myopic policies adopted by successive governments since the right to buy was introduced. In the early 1980’s, local authorities in England and Wales owned nearly 4.8m homes. By 2005, that had shrunk to 2.8m, with some councils having sold their entire housing stock. There are thousands of households in temporary accommodation, and millions of people on council housing waiting lists.

    The reality is that the consultation paper is classic spin – designed to sound tough, new and innovative, but in reality meaningless.

    • Whilst agreeing with your sentiments, Stephen, hold your horses – no CP has been published yet as far as I know, just threatened.

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